Harlingen students prepare for national rocket contest

HARLINGEN — The rocket screamed into the sky, a sharp, almost burning whisper cutting the air.

The Harlingen High School Engineering and Technology Club had just launched its first rocket of the year, inaugurating its march toward the Team America Rocketry Challenge in May.

“How high?” asked Paul Tenison, club sponsor, as Connor Smith, a senior, returned with the payload.

“Six thirty,” answered Smith, club president, indicating the altimeter read of 630 feet.

“It didn’t go as high as we would have liked,” said Connor, 17. “Today isn’t very good. It’s very windy. We are 220 feet short. This wind pushed it.”

Connor and his fellow club members had met with Tenison behind the Performing Arts Center after school Thursday. They made a test launch with last year’s rocket before sending up this year’s piece.

They had an idea of how well the new rocket would perform in the wind, which Tenison estimated at about 20 mph.

A member of the National Association of Rocketry will evaluate their qualifying launch March 6.

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